Jessalyn Gilsig is back baby! Raise your hand if you’re excited. ME ME ME! Read on to find out more and then look below for a scan where she addresses her divorce and her future with Glee.
What sinister plans does Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) have in store for the kids of Glee in next week’s all-new episode? Jessalyn Gilsig (Terri Schuester), who returns to the Fox sensation as one of Sue’s “League of Doom” cohorts in “A Night of Neglect,” shares some juicy details with us in an exclusive Wetpaint interview. Jessalyn also dishes on what she has in common with her trouble-making character, how she really feels about Matthew Morrison (Mr. Schue), and what the future may hold for Terri and Will.
Wetpaint: What’s you favorite Glee episode so far and why?
Jessalyn Gilsig: I think my favorite is “Preggers,” when the football team danced to “Single Ladies.” I feel like that’s the perfect symbol of what Glee is. It’s the only show that can somehow make football players dancing to “Single Ladies” not only hysterical but also exhilarating. That sort of embodies the show. I love that moment.
Glee has dealt with a lot of touchy subjects. What would you like to see them tackle next?
I guess with some of the girls there’s more to look at. I feel like the girls are portrayed as — except for Emma [Jayma Mays], who’s like an adult — they’re portrayed as very sexually confident, and I feel like the teenage experience of being a girl is more complex. I would like to see more of the confusion about sexuality when you’re in school for girls. But I feel like that’s coming with Santana [Naya Rivera] and Brittany [Heather Morris].
Who’s your dream Glee guest star?
I don’t have one. I have guest star fatigue to be honest. I’m not that excited by the guest stars. I feel like there’s enough there in the cast to draw on. So I think it’s great when people want to be a part of the show, and of course it’s exciting to meet famous, successful people, but I’m as much in awe of those kids as I am any celebrity who would come to our show.
Do you think there will be a point when Terri and Will can become friends?
I don’t know. You know, you can never underestimate [Glee co-creator] Ryan [Murphy] and the way he’s going to evolve the relationship. I think “friends” would be hard for Terri. I guess it’s possible, but at this point I think it would be really hard to be friends with your ex once you’ve moved on and you’re happy with other people. I don’t know that Terri has the emotional constitution to be friends with Will, but maybe she does.
We hear Terri’s going to team up with Sue in her new “League of Doom” in the April 19 episode — can you tease anything about that?
I can tell you that my code name is Honey Badger. It’s hilarious. We were joking about it because it’s Terri and Sandy [Stephen Tobolowsky] and Dustin [Cheyenne Jackson] and she calls us to teacher’s lounge at midnight on a weeknight, which is something we really don’t do. But we show up because when Sue calls, we go. Not only that, but then she enlists us to be in this big scam and we’re all being told these fatuous lies so that we’re completely willing to participate and do whatever she tells us to do. It’s really hilarious.
What are your thoughts on Terri being compared to a honey badger? Those things are vicious!
[Laughs] I have to admit I think it’s perfectly appropriate for Terri. It’s the kind of vermin that just never goes away. It’s always hanging about.
What type of role do you prefer to play? You’ve been on Nip/Tuck, which was considerably darker — but your role on Glee isn’t that upbeat either. Do you prefer light or dark comedy?
Without trying, I end up bringing a kind of darkness. I can’t figure it out, but sometimes I think I just come off as darker than I’m intending to be. When I was shooting Glee the other day, I was with Jane and she was making me laugh so hard, and we just kept trying to find ways to make the scene funnier and just make each other laugh. I thought, “This is just an amazing job. This is an incredible way to spend my day and make my living.” So I have to say that doing light comedy for me, definitely at the end of the day, I leave in a really good mood and I don’t have any of that baggage that doing the darker material brings. It’s really healthy. And people like it, people laugh. I mean, I’m almost embarrassed at how enjoyable my job is.
Do you prefer film or TV?
Well, I don’t get to do a lot of film. But I think I prefer TV because you really get a home. You get to take the time to develop a character and get really close to your crew. I think as a woman it’s given me three amazing opportunities that unless you’re a film star, unless you’re like one of the seven highest-paid actresses in the world, you’re not really going to get to play the characters I’ve been able to play — you’re playing more of a supporting role. So for the course that my career has taken I think TV has been very good for me. It’s what I’m used to now, you know? It’s what I know how to do. I’m very grateful for the roles that I’ve played.
What’s your relationship like with Matthew Morrison? Is it colored at all by your difficult on-screen relationship?
Yeah, we’re married. [Laughs] He’s great. I don’t hang out with him. I mean, I have a different life than most of the cast. I’m a mother — I’m a single mother. So, for me, if I’m going to go out, I have to get a baby sitter. But I love Matthew. Whenever we get together with the script, I always send him out like, “Matthew, if you take off, you just better remember me when you go.” I’m a big fan of his.
Do you have anything in common with Terri?
Oh, yeah, I think I do. I can relate to Terri’s… I don’t think I go as far as being paranoid, but like her hypersensitivity. I’m that way, but I just keep it to myself. I sort of pick up on dynamics and then probably over-personalize things. The difference is that Terri externalizes that stuff and makes it everybody else’s problem. I can relate to how insecure she is. I just don’t relate to how she thinks it’s relevant to everybody else.
Jessalyn is BACK!! And I don’t know about you but I am so excited to Terri back on the show. It’s been missing some crazy!
Jessalyn Gilsig’s infamous character on Glee, Terri Schuester, is headed back to McKinley High and she’s showing no mercy.
Collaborating with the Glee club’s biggest rival, Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), Terri is drafted in a mission to destroy the club before the Nationals competition.
“Sue assembles the League of Doom,” said Gilsig. “She recruits us.”
“Us” refers to new Vocal Adrenaline coach Dustin Goolsby (Cheyenne Jackson) and former McKinley glee club director Sandy (Stephen Tobolowsky).
“We get code names,” she adds with a laugh. “Mine is ‘The Honey Badger.’”
“Look up ‘Honey Badger voice-over’ on YouTube,” Gilsig said. “It is Terri.”
“At first I thought it was cool that we all had code names but after I saw the video I thought ‘that’s how they see me?’”
Terri Schuester, or rather ‘Terri Del Monico’ post-divorce, is best known on Glee as Will Schuester’s (Matthew Morrison) manipulative ex-wife who faked a pregnancy in order to keep Schuester from stepping out with WMHS guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays).
“Terri starts as the weakest contributor but once everyone fails, she becomes the Achilles’ heel,” Gilsig said, calling Terri the “executioner” of the “League.”
Gilsig, who describes her character as “the ultimate dream girl”, says “I love playing Terri so much.”
“I love figuring out her logic and how she rationalizes. She has her own reality,” she added. “I also love the hair. Most of it is not mine. She’s so physically different than anything I am.”
“My hope was that if you think about it, it’s all done in the name of her love for Will,” Gilsig said of her character’s scandalous schemes.
Gilsig also noted that Glee fans often assume that she’s her character in real life.
“People call me Mrs. Schuester all the time,” Gilsig said. “I have people come up to me and talk to me like I’m Terri. They say ‘what was he thinking’ and expect me to know what they’re talking about,” she said.
“But the tide has turned a little bit. People are starting to miss her.”
She says that fans encourage her return to the show to add “spice” and “drama.”
Recently, Gilsig shared a scene with Gwyneth Paltrow on Glee’s “The Substitute” episode.
“It was so fun to mess with her,” Gilsig said. “She’s a great person.”
“It was fun hazing someone on the show,” she adds with a laugh.
She says discussing future potential guest stars on Glee is a “sensitive topic” and she “doesn’t care” who creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan bring onto the set because she fears the hype over guest stars “overshadows how talented the rest of the cast is, especially the kids.”
“These amazing kids are willing to play complex, vulnerable characters,” Gilsig said.
“The writing is so smart,” she adds, calling it “crass” and “a little bit cutting.”
“The audience created this show and I know the audience love these characters.”
Her hope is that the audience gets to see “more” of Terri in upcoming episodes.
“I’d like to be back for 100% of the remaining episodes,” Gilsig said. “But I have no idea.”
She does know that the episode that features the “League of Doom” is titled “Rumors.”
(Whether “Rumors” is simply a working title or a reference to Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 “Rumours” album which show creator Ryan Murphy expressed interest in covering is undetermined.)
“I’d love to see more interaction,” she said of Will and Terri’s relationship.
“Terri is hands down the woman Will’s meant to be with.”
“They have strong physical chemistry. There’s something adult about Will and Terri’s relationship,” Gilsig added. “Besides, Emma won’t have sex so what’s the point of that?”
Jessalyn Gilsig has big plans for Thanksgiving!
“My daughter’s father is American so that’s sort of their holiday so that’s one long weekend out of the year I feel free opportunity to go away. I just got this crazy opportunity thanks to “Glee” — it’s really disgusting I can’t believe how great it is — to go to Berlin. I’ve never been and I’m so insanely excited. Apparently if I do that thing where you have a detached look you’re supposed to have at a fashion show sitting in the front row watching the clothes go by, they’ll fly me to Berlin to sit in the front row.
“People want to know what I’m wearing apparently. I’m kind of nervous, but I should go as Terri because Terri has complete confidence. There was a fur vest I had to wear one day, maybe I’ll wear that. It’s only for a couple days, but I’ve never been to Germany and it’s a big opportunity to go. I guess everybody else is celebrating Thanksgiving, so they said, ‘Well, Jessalyn will go. The Canadian will go.'”
Well, Terri was back on our TV screens last night…but before we saw her back to her old ways this article was published. Do you think she’s right? Was Will a jerk?
Well, the former Mrs. Schuester is back on the Tuesday, Nov. 16 episode thanks to her ex-husband Will‘s (Matthew Morrison) falling sick and needing some TLC.
“It’s one of those vulnerable times in your life when can only accept help from those who know you the best, and that’s Terri,” Gilsig tells Zap2it. “She comes to nurse him because she knows what he likes. What she does is this baby talk that he likes.
“It’s sweet. You see two lonely people reconnecting in an unexpected way. Their defenses are down, and I think that’s the first time we’ve ever really seen them that way.”
Terri and Will won’t spend all their time alone though. Another hot blonde, substitute teacher Holly Holiday (Gwyneth Paltrow), enters the scene.
Despite her character’s hostility towards Holly, Gilsig has nothing but praise for the Oscar-winning guest star.
“Oh my gosh, she was amazing. She really, genuinely was,” gushes Gilsig. “She’s really a fan of the show, which is so nice. It’s really fun when somebody comes on the show when they work themselves into the fabric of it. She got the tone and the world of the show.”
Paltrow also impressed Gilsig with the effort she put into the musical numbers, like the “Singin’ in the Rain/Umbrella” mashup.
“She was very honest about how hard everybody works, especially the kids, especially with all the musical numbers,” says Gilsig. “It was amazing. They were wet and they were cold but nobody complains about those numbers because who ever thought you’d grow up and splash around in puddles and sing songs?”
Holly’s presence, however, brings up an issue that Gilsig has had about the double standard applied to Terri and Will when it comes to their fidelity.
“I get it that Terri is not the most palatable person that you can know, but she’s certainly devoted to one man,” Gilsig points out. “She’s completely committed. But he has itchy feet and doesn’t seem to be able to work on a relationship, but he comes across as the most sympathetic character. She’s really committed to a true love, but he has a wandering eye.
“There must be a shortage of curly-haired men in Ohio,” she continues. “He gets all the ladies. It’s ridiculous. I’m really curious about how this episode is going to play because I can say definitively in this episode he’s a real jerk. I’m curious if once and for all America will see that. I’ll see what America says. I’m sure they’ll hate me still.”
Apparently, Terri gets a chance to move on though with a new love interest that the show’s producers have been promising. Gilsig hasn’t met the actor who’ll turn Terri’s head yet, but teases his identity.
“I’m really excited. They tell me once and for all that my new relationship is about to start,” she says. “I know who it is. He’s known. I’ve never met this person but I think he’s very funny and I think Terri and this gentleman would be kind of a cute pairing. He’s extremely handsome. I’m willing to make the sacrifice. ”
Apparently, the guy in question is connected to the glee club world, so Terri will be pulled in as well, which of course means contact and conflicts with Will.
So does this gentleman have curly hair reminiscent of a certain ex-husband?
“No, I’m over that,” says Gilsig. “Straight hair. I’m over the curls, too high maintenance.”
Terri’s back TONIGHT!!
Jessalyn Gilsig is a Gleek. And not just because she plays Glee’s Terri Schuester, the cantankerous (and slightly delusional) ex-wife of the glee club’s beloved coach, Will Schuester. The 39-year-old Montreal native is a genuine fan of the phenomenon that shot to the top of TV Land’s must-see list last season, and she doesn’t miss an episode. (The show airs Tuesdays on Global TV.)
“I always cry when the kids sing,” Jessalyn says, on the set of Chatelaine’s New Year’s Eve shoot in a lavish 1950s-era mansion in Toronto. “You think you’ve seen the depths of their talent and then they show you something you didn’t know they could do. I love that the show is about feeling like an outcast, about how we’re not comfortable in our own skins, except for a few moments in life when you feel like you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”
It’s no surprise that Jessalyn identifies with the teenagers who are just trying to make it to class without being “slushied.” Jessalyn, mother of four-year-old Penelope, wasn’t the kid who declared “actor” when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up; she would have told you she wanted to be a painter, and she even studied art at Dawson College after high school. “I always thought I would supplement my painting career by acting. Brilliant plan,” she says with a selfdeprecating eye roll. “Then I started acting more than painting, so now I support my painting habit by acting.” After graduating, Jessalyn was invited to join the prestigious American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University — the event that she considers her first big break. “It was really unexpected, and it was the first time I was offered a legitimate job as an actor.” Jessalyn’s CV now boasts a list of shows that sounds like the winners’ circle at the Emmys — The Practice, Boston Public and Nip/Tuck, where she played sex addict Gina, the part she credits with preparing her for her role on Glee. “Playing Gina made me fearless.
I think when you’re coming up as an actor, especially as an ingénue, it’s all about likeability. But once I got to play a complex adult woman, I let go of that expectation, and it liberated me.” Last season, the list of Terri Schuester’s indiscretions included everything from faking a pregnancy to falsifying nursing credentials. “I’m pretty proud of Terri,” Jessalyn says. “I feel like I’m Terri’s lone champion, so I’m protective of her.”
People recognize Jessalyn more and more these days, now that Glee watchers number in the millions each week — a fact that still surprises her and her cast-mates, who initially expected the show to attract a niche audience. “We knew when we were shooting the pilot that we loved it. Everybody felt, ‘Wow, I’m doing what I always felt I was born to do.’ That’s a very fleeting feeling as an actor. Once in a while you think, ‘I’m an entertainer, I’m a performer.’ The show made us feel that way.”
As Jessalyn’s makeup gets the final touches and her hair is rolled in Mad Men fashion to match our shoot’s retro-chic esthetic, our conversation moves from one cult TV show to another; Jessalyn shamelessly admits her childhood addiction to Little House on the Prairie. “I wanted to be a pioneer so badly. I wanted to die of consumption, and I would make my dad carry me around in a duvet and lay me on the couch. And then my parents and sister would have to come and say their goodbyes. My family was basically held hostage by me. I even had hysterical blindness once, because I was so obsessed with the Mary character.” And she thought she was going to be a painter.
Q: What is the last great book you read?
A: Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen. I read it in two days straight — it was impossible to put down.
Q: What’s on your bedside table?
A: A notebook I write in every few days to record funny things my daughter says. Unread New Yorker magazines.
Q. What part of the world is next on your list?
A. I’d love to go to China. I have never been to Asia and I’m sure it would be fascinating.
Q: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
A. The People’s Court. I know, it’s bizarre. I love the clarity of the judge. I have a lot of trouble seeing things in black and white and I just love it when she lays it all out at the end.
Q. What is your favourite comfort food?
A. Chocolate. Plain chocolate.
Q. Who has been the most influential figure for you?
A. My grandmother, Violet Johnstone. She had an amazing zest for life and got up and out every day. I think about her whenever I am looking for motivation to keep going.
Q. Who do you consider a misunderstood historical figure?
A. Women. I know that’s vague but history is often told from the perspective of the men, and I think the other, equally interesting story is the women who survived childbirth and found ways to clean, clothe, feed and educate the children. The resources that were needed for basic survival are underestimated. Which words do you most overuse? “What?!” I say that all the time. Very high-pitched. It can silence a room. And I can’t seem to stop!
Q. Who or what makes you laugh the hardest?
A. My daughter.
Q. Which gadget could you never give up?
A. My espresso pot. It gets me out of bed.
Q. What’s the most exciting part of your job? And what’s the most tedious part?
A. The moments between “action” and “cut” are the greatest. I live for those few minutes. The most tedious part is waiting. Ninety percent of an actor’s workday is waiting, and 10 percent sits between those two words.
Q. What is the worst piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. “Don’t jog, it will make your face sag.” What?!
Q. What song do you sing in the shower?
A. “Love the Way You Lie,” by Rihanna and Eminem. I’ve been working on the rap part, it’s coming. . .
Q. What’s your favourite cocktail or drink?
A. I love a vodka martini, dirty with olives.
Q. Who or what do you live for?
A. I live for my daughter, and try to live for myself.
I don’t know about you guys but I am so freaking excited to see Crazy!Terri back on my TV screen again on Tuesday. Jessalyn Gilsig is so FANTASTIC in that role and I am so glad she’s coming back!
Jessalyn Gilsig, who plays thorny ex-wife Terri Schuester on the hit high school musical Glee, hasn’t been seen much during the second season. Just don’t think she has gone peacefully off into the sunset. The character comes storming back on the next episode (Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET on Fox and Global).
The Montreal native was in Toronto several weeks ago to promote the series. As relaxed and friendly in person as Terri is tightly wound, Gilsig admits it’s not always fun playing the bad girl.
“I didn’t anticipate that people would have such a strong reaction to her,” she says, referring especially to all the name calling on the Internet. “Man, people really wanted to put me out of work.”
Terri really put her high school sweetheart hubby Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) through the emotional wringer in the first season, faking a pregnancy for months just to keep him keen.
When the ruse was discovered, it immediately led to the most visceral marital meltdown scene this side of The Good Wife.
The character returns in this season’s seventh episode, “The Substitute,” which features guest star Gwyneth Paltrow. The Academy Award-winner plays a substitute teacher who takes over Will’s glee club after several members of the faculty go down with the flu.
Jealous Terri manages to get in Paltrow’s character’s face as she works her way back into Will’s life.
The joke on Glee is who hasn’t guest starred on the series. Britney Spears, Javier Bardem and, later this month, Carol Burnett (as Sue Sylvester’s mom!) all crash the series this season. Asked who’s next, Gilsig says, “I don’t think Obama, although he did invite the cast to the White House.”
The phenomenal popularity of the series has been a bit “surreal” at times, she says. She was humbled when Tom Hanks paid a compliment at a recent award show.
“It’s amazing how many people come out as fans of the show. I’m proud to be an advocate of it — I know I’d be a fan if I wasn’t on the show.”
She’s equally proud of fellow Canadian Cory Monteith. The young actor was an unknown from Vancouver before winning the role as high school football hero Finn Hudson. This weekend, he’s hosting the Canadian version of the Emmys, The Gemini Awards, in Toronto. (The main gala airs Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET on Global and Showcase)
“He’s a good actor too, he’s nothing like that character,” she says.
Monteith’s Finn often appears lost and naive.
“You have to be smart to do that,” says Gilsig, also a fan of Heather Morris who has broken out this year as dead pan Cheerio Brittany Pierce. “It’s hard to play a dumb blond,” says Gilsig. “It’s a science.”
Gilsig, who starred in Glee executive producer Ryan Murphy’s previous series, Nip/Tuck, says her boss has her back and is committed to keeping Terri in as part of the mix.
“He didn’t really want to apologize for this character we created,” she says. “His philosophy is that this is a marathon and you have to see these characters through to the end.”
The 39-year-old actress says working on Murphy’s darker cable series Nip/Tuck helped her “let go of likeability. I feel I have outgrown that need to be the nice girl.”
She does get some sympathetic shout outs on the street. Her character’s ex-husband Will was, after all, cheating on her.
“You should hear my mother on that one,” jokes Gilsig.
Terri will be back full time through the rest of the season, which may not give Gilsig much time to work on a pet project, a book of sketches and paintings. The McGill grad also studied Fine Art at Dawson College in Montreal and breaks her sketch pad out whenever she has down time in her trailer on the set. She’s even done a few oil paints as well as portraits of fellow cast members.
“I doodle them all the time on the set,” she says.
The title of the book? It will likely be called Hurry Up and Wait, a mantra most actors and actresses can relate to while working on a series. Gilsig has a spicier, alternate title, however, if she can sneak it past a publisher: I’d Like to Start with the Orgasm.
There is an explanation. Gilsig says she went in for an audition once and the scene called for a couple to be making love. The director turned to Gilsig and said, “I’d like to start with the orgasm.”
“Not only did I have to do that right then,” she says, “he gave me notes on the fake orgasm.”